Upper Hunter Water Balance – Mining’s Water Use

The Dialogue reports annually on mining industry water use and reuse in the context of the Hunter River and other water users via a Water Accounting Framework.


The Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue has implemented the Minerals Council of Australia’s (MCA) Water Accounting Framework to enable the Dialogue to quantify the water used by mining operations in the context of other water users in the Hunter River system.

Operating as a key annual Dialogue project since 2014, the Water Accounting Framework project has involved all industry Dialogue members agreeing to adopt the same water accounting principles. Prior to this project, information regarding water use was reported in an inconsistent format across the Upper Hunter operations, which made it difficult to compare water use across operations.

Through an annual review of industry and contextual water data supplied to the Dialogue, we have been able to generate a region-wide snapshot and improve community understanding of the volumes and sources of water entering and flowing out of mining operations. This project has also enabled the Dialogue to better understand how much water is reused and recycled onsite.

Since 2014, the results have shown that the mining industry uses between 2% to 8% of the total Hunter River water in the Upper Hunter each year. Such results are heavily impacted by the total amount of rainfall in the region and the water entering the Hunter River.

Typically, during years with higher rainfall and more water flow in the Hunter River, industry water use is likely to be relatively low. However in periods of low rainfall and drought, the use of water will likely rise amongst all water users, including industry.

Video: An NBN News report from the launch of the 2014/15 Water Use results in 2016.

Annual Water Use Results

2019 Results:

2018 Results:

2017 Results:

2016 Results:

2015 Results:

2014 Results:

Further Information and FAQ:

For more information regarding the MCA Water Accounting Framework, please see the following resources (courtesy of the Minerals Council of Australia):

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